Midnight tripped an hour ago and fell into the small hours.Roused from dozing to the slap and howl of nightshift winds my dreamysail-bright craft is bucked and flippedand runs agroundwhen, abruptly, canvas catching breath from half a life away,my mother, wine-remote and mournful, launches into song.
She and her sorrow have spilled over into a third glass tonight-- or so I surmise as,from my leggy sprawl flung idly in the pillowed, twilit room next the tideless, drydock kitchen, dimly candled, ticking tears,
(I and my wicking youth, all ears, all ears abrim and baffled, listen.
Listen: for the same two songs she’s always sungmy spooling lifetime’s skein along -- murky, folksy, in that plain,pitch-careful, voice-of-angels way she has.
Bedtimes, back in tuck-in years, she’d kneel by my anchored bed;her hands would trace the contours of my head, and she would sing,
reedy but near-as-can-be true, and always (as if secretly) layered, spun of runes.
I am not schooled in matters of the soul. Buttonight, my brother’s gone, a moth to the guttering collegiate flame;and our father lies asleep, unwell, a tossing raft poling him supine beyond the reach of dreams.
It’s quiet here. And for her voice’s tracery through tiers of pendant light she grants herself a third (translucent green) and lo!the lullabies emerge antique, intact, custodial.
Does she think she’s singing to the soaring, storebought lily? or my absent brother’s mapless fume-and-flare intensity?
No matter. In this spinning hour, these twinned and rising airs are mine when, from a room -- a world -- away,with something more than words entwined,